I don’t understand the craze for vinyl

This NYT article is only the latest to talk about the craze for vinyl recordings and how it is displacing what little market is left for CDs. (That article might be paywalled but I tried to make a gift link that is free to access temporarily.)

I realize both formats are way less popular than streaming and downloading, and that makes sense. One can listen to a song almost immediately.

But when CDs came out I remember everyone, included myself, saying how much better they were than LPs. They sounded better without all the cracks and skips, and they were much much easier to use.

So why does everyone love vinyl now?

I don’t get it either. Every time I hear about people speaking about their love of vinyl, it reminds me of this guy.

There were some albums, like Black Sabbath’s 13, where the vinyl release was good but the CD was poorly mastered. Obviously there is nothing intrinsic about that, but whoever mastered the vinyl put more effort in.

ETA does everybody love vinyl more than they did, or are you merely noticing nobody cares for CDs any longer?

I don’t get it, either. I think it’s a neo-hipster thing. My eldest kid loves the stuff. He doesn’t have a high-end record player or anything, he just likes vinyl. Maybe it’s the size of the artwork or the liner notes?

For older people, I feel like it’s just nostalgia, resentment, and fear of new things. “Things were better back in my day” and all.

For younger people, I think it’s just hipsters trying to be cool.

Immerses self into the warmer sound of vinyl
< click > warmer sound of vinyl

< click > warmer sound of vinyl

< click > warmer sound of vinyl

< click > warmer sound of vinyl

Maybe for some oldsters it’s partly a Pavlovian thing: vinyl does have a little aroma, the smell of which triggered great anticipation upon opening new albums.

I think it’s about the ritual. There’s no ritual to CDs, so you might as well just keep the bits on a hard drive somewhere or stream them.

But a record you have to handle carefully, clean it, carefully position the needle. It’s not just letting the algorithm pick the next song it thinks you want.

It’s like hand-grinding your coffee or building wooden furniture with hand tools or wearing a mechanical watch. There’s an appreciation of the craft of it, even though technology has moved on.

Perhaps it’s more the death of CDs (since you’re digital anyway) and the only physical media really remaining is vinyl? Victory by default even if it’s still a small market share.

I don’t really care about vinyl but I can get why some people might find it superior or enjoy the mechanical aspects of it. I don’t really see a point in CDs in this age except for “I want to OWN my music, man” or being unable to figure out the streaming service apps.

This is a feature, not a bug. It’s exactly the cracks, skips and crackle that these fanboys want. The manual nature of queuing up a track and the tactile feel of the grooves is the musical equivalent of brewing your own beer. It’s not easier, it’s not better, and most of your friends aren’t half as excited about it as you are.

CDs have the misfortune of being essentially equivalent to streaming in that they are both digital formats and both are compressed. Vinyl is analog so while it’s not necessarily better, it is truly different. CDs are less convenient and cost more for essentially the exact same product as streaming, vinyl is inherently different which is why it’s maintaining value relative to CDs.

I think it has been almost 20 years since I’ve bought a new CD. I do own some but I can’t think of the last time I listened to any. Hell, I don’t even know where they are. At one point I owned every CD the Smashing Pumpkins had released, including the Aerplane Flies High boxed set. They are probably in a cardboard box in the garage somewhere.

If I want to listen to a specific song I look it up on YouTube. If I want to hear music in general I launch Amazon Music.

When I was younger and vinyl was still the dominant format, I considered myself a music “collector” as much as a music lover. That became less of a thing with smaller formats like cassettes and CDs and completely disappeared with downloads and streaming. The same thing happened more recently for me with comic books. I used to be a comic book collector, but now that I can access it all digitally, I can’t give the paper stuff away fast enough. That’s because I’m not really a collector at heart. I love music and I love comic books; but I have no innate need to physically own the stuff. Collectors on the other hand…

For a while I was buying them because Amazon would also give you the digital version of the album. Sometimes it was cheaper to buy the CD (+digital) off the store than to just buy the digital off Amazon Music. But that doesn’t really seem to be the case any more.

CDs sound, IMO … totally fine, not superlative, but there is no reason they should sound “compressed” or otherwise distorted if the audio engineer produced it properly.

ETA again, it can depend on the quality of your equipment, the type of music, etc. I know someone who cannot stand the CD version of The Dark Side of the Moon, for instance, because of jitter and other subtle distortion.

I own a few Dane Cook comedy albums in Amazon Music.

I can’t stand Dane Cook but my ex-wife was a fan of his and I bought her some of his CDs as gifts. Since they were bought in my account, I now own them digitally. Yay. :expressionless:

Vinyl is, generally, an analog recording - which captures all the sound (good and bad) in a session. CDs are digital (as are downloads) - digital loses some of the dynamic range of the recording (this includes “Digitally Remastered” recordings).

I don’t know…personally, I prefer the analog recordings. Even with all the distortions, like ‘wow’, ‘rumble’ and ‘flutter’…

Not really. They are digital, they are literally compressed. Even lossless formats are compressed. It’s literally impossible to create a digital recording, even with WAV, that’s not going to lose a infinitesimal amount of information. No audio engineer can overcome the physics of it.

Now, you can argue that no human could hear such losses, but the fact remains.

I know people who can hear it, at least under some circumstances. I only opined that CDs are “not that bad”, but, sure, there is no reason for them today, you can easily distribute super hi-fi digital files if you want.

False. Dynamic range can absolutely be preserved in a digital recording. Peaks and valleys are not where the sampling error is introduced. This is a trope that audiophiles mistakenly repeat. Wave slopes are what are lost, not range.

It’s the same motivation that drives interest in film photography. The annoying and disconcerting problems inherent in the older technology vanish if you can convince yourself that the end product is bettter, or at least that it feels more rewarding to go through the extra trouble to attain it.

I highly doubt that the vast majority of vinylphiles could consistently tell the difference between sound quality of digital music (especially loud rock) and vinyl records in blind listening tests.

I sold the great majority of my vinyl collection a couple of years ago. Any nostalgia is tempered by memories of the annoyance of cleaning dust and gunk-laden records, warpage, hiss and crackles and skips. Album art was sometimes special though.